Stocks were narrowly mixed in early trading Thursday, with technology shares rising modestly as profit news reassured investors nervous about the sector's prospects.
Amid a quiet opening Thursday, investors reviewed quarterly results from eBay Inc., Ford Motor Co., AT&T Inc. and awaited word on the state of the housing market. The National Association of Realtors is due to report figures for existing home sales in December. Investors have wondered for months whether the housing sector and the broader economy could share a similar fate; that is, if a pullback in the housing market would drag down the rest of the economy.
In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 14.10, or 0.11 percent, at 12,607.67.
Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.36, or 0.09 percent, and the Nasdaq composite index was up 0.70, or 0.03 percent, at 2,466.98, reports AP.
Beyond the deluge of earnings reports, investors again looked to economic data to help indicate where the economy might be headed. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week surged by the largest amount in 16 months, reversing two weeks of large declines.